Where old cars are made new

  @FortuneMagazine July 26, 2013: 9:59 AM ET
FIO12 porsche 911

A retrofitted Porsche 911 from Singer Vehicle Design starts at $350,000.

(Fortune)

Fact: The Porsche 911 is the rock star of sports cars. So it's fitting that a former recording artist and 911 fanatic set up a stealth shop in Southern California to rebuild vintage Porsches. Rob Dickinson, the founder of Singer Vehicle Design, arguably remakes the most exquisite and expensive 911s on the planet. "It is the late-'60s to early-'70s cars that are the most elegant," says Dickinson. "The genius of Porsche is to incrementally do something fashion forward and yet thumb its nose at fashion too."

Singer starts by integrating $40,000 worth of new Porsche parts into each vehicle. For the interior, the company hand-lays the finest basketweave leathers from Spinneybeck in Tuscany to upgrade Porsche's black-vinyl-embossed equivalent from the '60s. Each engine is developed and improved with Cosworth. Singer stitch-welds critical chassis seams to strengthen an already taut body. Brass seat grommets reminiscent of the 1967 Scheel racing versions offer just about the chicest ventilation solution. And so on and so on and so on. In luxury- goods terms, a 911 from Singer is equivalent to an Herm├Ęs Birkin bag, a limited-edition Patek Philippe, a Riva yacht. Prices start at $350,000. And the buyer provides the car upon which Singer goes to work. "To respect this genius design and do an ultimate incarnation, I refuse to restore down to a cost," Dickinson explains. "We extravagantly attack the car as if money is no object."

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